Monday, 10 June 2013

GIS and Remote Sensing in Disaster Management: Potential and Application Cases

 by Anne Schauß

In order of handling the variety of spatio-temporal and damage characteristics of natural and human-made disasters an equally diverse arsenal of tools aiding in their response is needed (KERLE ET AL 2007). Considering that most of the required information has spatial components, geographic information systems and remote sensing technologies present suitable tools for crisis management: The success of disaster management, amongst all, largely depends on finding and successfully integrating related information to make decisions (XU & ZLATANOVA 2010). While Remote Sensing offers a variety of sensors and platforms and thus can provide relevant data for all kind of catastrophes, GIS serve as platforms for entry, processing, analysis and visualization of the information (KERLE ET AL 2007).

Regarding the disaster management cycle remote sensing and GIS technologies can provide valuable information at each of the stages (JOYCE ET AL 2009): Pre-Disaster activities aim at supporting disaster managers at adopting risk-and damage reducing measures (MANFRÉ ET AL 2012). GIS and Remote Sensing support Mitigation activities by analysis regarding the identification of regions of hazards, risks and probabilities, by the identification of values that remain inside these endangered areas and subsequently by risk analysis (ESRI 2008). 
Prepardness activities can be supported by location analysis regarding best locations for shelters or medical facilities as well as needed resources and capacities, planning evacuations (zoning, best routes) and most important by Real-Time-Monitoring to maintain early warning systems (JOHNSSON 2000). Post-Disaster activities are in first place Response activities where lots of different information needs to be provided as quickly as possible. Remote Sensing can provide satellite imagery and a first overview of the damage while GIS is able to organize and route supporting staff on basis of damaged infrastructure. 
During the Recovery phase GIS and Remote Sensing techniques can provide detailed damage assessments and landcover changes through Change detection analysis for the planning of the priorities and costs of reconstruction (MANFRÉ ET AL 2012). Evidently there are many remote sensing and GIS applications for disaster management yet there are many challenges to be faced:
Relevant geoinformation needs to be obtained from different sources. The data will be received in huge amounts, different data formats, with different quality standards and spatial conceptions. Yet it has to be combined and integrated with existing data. After a reasonable interpretation the information needs to be shared with all concerned stakeholders where it starts again.
Obiviously methods have to be found to facilitate this process. VGI can be obtained to have more relevant data available, standards, specifications and ontology’s must be found to ensure interoperability for the data integration, web-based spatial data infrastructures must be created to share data quickly and efficiently, political arrangements have to be made to
guarantee transgressive data-sharing and awareness has to be raised especially in developing countries of integrating GIS and remote sensing in disaster management activities (MANFRÉ ET AL 2012).

If measures are recognized at all stages of the circle, geoinformation is shared as well as interpreted correctly and relevant activities are performed, the severity of any catastrophe can be reduced. It is all about “getting the right resources to the right place at the right time, to provide the right information to the right people to make the right decisions at the right level at the right time” (XU & ZLATANOVA 2010).

ESRI (2008): Geographic Information Systems Providing the Platform for Comprehensive Emergency Management. An ESRI White Paper, ESRI, New York.
Johnsson, R. (2000): GIS Technology for Disasters and Emergency Management. An ESRI White Paper. ESRI. New York.
Joyce, K. E., Wright, K. C., Samsonov, S.V. & Ambriosa, V.G. (2009): Remote Sensing and the disaster management cycle. In: Advances in Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 317-346, (02.06.2013)
Kerle, N., Heuel, S & N. Pfeifer (2007): Real-Time Data Collection and Information Generation Using Airborne Sensors. In: Zlatanova, S., Li, J. (Eds.)(2008): Geospatial Information Technology for Emergency Response, Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK, 6, 43-74.
Manfré, L.A., Hirata, E., Silva, J. B., Shinohara, E. J., Giannotti, M. A., Larocca, A. P. C., & J.A. Quintanilha (2012): An Analysis of Geospatial Technologies for Risk and Natural Disaster Management. In: ISPRS International Journal of GeoInformation, 1(3), 166-185, doi:10.3390/ijgi1020166
Xu, W & S. Zlatanova (2010): Ontologies for Disaster Management. In: Li, J, Zlatanova, S. & A. Fabbri (Eds.): Geomatics Solutions for Disaster Management. Springer, New York Heidelberg.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds for me that a spatial data infrastructure for high risky regions would be nice (e.g. sth. comparable with INSPIRE). Maybe disaster management organizations (or even V&TCs?) can handle this?